5 Hamstring Openers for Compass Pose

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By Yoga Journal

girl demonstrating bound standing forward fold

By Yoga Journal

Compass Pose can demand a lot of your shoulders, hips, and hamstrings. Learn how to warm up safely for this complicated seated pose with Miami Vinyasa and Vedanta teacher Rina Jakubowicz.

Bound Standing Forward Fold

Baddha Uttanasana

Start to open your shoulders and hamstrings in this variation of Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your hands on your hips. Inhale and extend the spine. Exhale and hinge from your hips forward, moving from your hips, not from your back. As in all forward bends, emphasize the lengthening the both sides of your torso as you fold deeper. Bend your knees slightly and thread your right arm under your right thigh, internally rotating your right shoulder to bring your left arm behind your back. Clasp left arm with your right hand by your right hip if possible. Otherwise just place your hands wherever they land and open your chest to the left as you try to straighten your legs and straighten your left arm (if clasped.) Continue to press the heels and the balls of your feet firmly into the floor and lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling to accentuate the stretch. Take 5 breaths here before exhaling to release the arms, inhaling to rise, and switching sides.

girl demonstrating lizard pose

Lizard Pose

Warm up your hamstrings, hips, and shoulders slowly with Lizard Pose. From Tadasana, step your left foot back into a lunge and bring your hands down to the inside of your right foot. Lower your left knee to the floor if you wish but keep your head lifted, looking forward. Stay up on your hands, bring forearms down onto a block, or bring forearms down to the floor. Choose the deepest option that allows you keep from collapsing to the left. Pull the low belly up and in and stay here for 5 breaths before coming back to Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) and switching sides.

Wanting more? Complete the full hamstring opener practice.

Rina headshot

About Rina Jabukowicz

Rina Jakubowicz is a bilingual yoga teacher and Reiki practitioner based in Florida. She is the founder and owner of Rina Yoga, which now has three studios in Miami, and teaches there and at events worldwide, including Yoga Journal LIVE, the Glow Yoga Festival in Puerto Rico, and Feria Mujer in Chile. She is the yoga expert on Univision’s Spanish language music television series Tu Desayuno Alegre, the host of Health & Wellness Channel’s YOUnity Yoga daily morning show, and the creator of a pioneering yoga curriculum for children and teens called Super Yogis’ Schoolhouse.

To build more strength and flexibility, try out poses to help your hamstrings.

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